Technology advances in the United States as quickly as it can be researched and one of the oldest professions is still seeing accelerating growth. The most recent achievement is the use of drones in agricultural surveillance. Also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), drones gained fame during the Iraq-Afghanistan conflict as a safer way to attack targets. Their original intention has been lost recently as companies such as Amazon and UPS are researching ways to use drones to deliver packages to your front doors.
While it may sound like drones will be taking jobs away from Americans it is in fact the opposite. One report details that once the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) establishes guidelines for commercial use, the drone industry could expect to create more than 100,000 jobs and nearly half a billion in tax revenue to be generated collectively by 2025, and most of that is just agriculture.
The agriculture industry represents over 16 million jobs in the United States and nearly 1.1% of all Gross Domestic Product (GDP). With numbers like that it is no wonder that drone surveillance is such an emerging technology for farmers. There are even colleges in the Midwest that are incorporating learning drone technology for farming. However, while there are significant benefits with utilizing drones, there are consequences to the technology.
Right to privacy is a huge factor and how do nearby farmers know that the drones are not watching their land? This could create huge advantages for local farms that are looking to receive an advantage from using highly advanced surveillance techniques. This year alone nearly 36 states, including Iowa, are attempting to implement legislation that would put numerous restrictions on drone use.
The possibility of drones depends wildly on the users definitions of privacy. Citizens in some states may care more than others, thus it may allow one state to have a high level of drone use while another may choose to not allow them. Whatever the decision is, it is my prediction that the use of drones for commercial purposes may make its way up for the Supreme Court to decide. There is too much controversy around the technology to take off immediately; there are several hurdles that the technology will have to jump before it becomes mainstay in society.